Let us all take a deep breath as we relax into the South West. Here at Anake Outdoor School, this is an important shield to cultivate as we continue our journey around the medicine wheel. This is where the connections in our learning journey deepen. In the plant metaphor, this is when the internal woody growth happens. The South West shield is not just about relaxation but integration. Taking time away from the physical learning to let all the lessons and information settle deep into your bones.
We find that humans in our program (and in general) experience a natural lowering or scattering of energy right after lunchtime. Sometimes students just want to rest or play or wandering and that trying to convey specific facts or information to them is very challenging. You may experience this at work or in your life as well, how is your energy or productivity during hours of 1-3? In some European cultures, this is when they have their Siesta time.
It is during this free, unstructured times where these deep connections happen. Giving our students the opportunity to explore and adventure together with a sense of timelessness and no agenda cultivate strong bonds. Think about a time where you’ve created those stronger connections with people around you. Sure during activities you connect with a specific task or goal in mind, but it is during the breaks and the in-between time when you share more personal stories and experiences. This is where you really get to know people before coming back together to finish the activity.
It is during this sharing and connecting where develop empathy for each other and the world around us. This is why on a teaching the South West is in the role of caretaking. Checking in with people to make sure they have the things they need, helping to prepare and clean up spaces, and making sure people are drinking water and taking care of themselves.
This shows up as in our students as Caring and Tending for the things around them. Having the consciousness of physical, emotional, and community well-being. Offering help as a need is observed or anticipated.
Relaxation and Integration is important as spending too much time in the South can be really exhausting and actually cause us to become disengaged. This shield of rest and wandering falls naturally after putting in hard work. Taking time to step away from what we are doing and let the experiences percolate into our being so that we may enter the West, rested and rejuvenated.